Mommy Makeover Part 1: Making the Decision and Planning Ahead

PART 1: Making the Decision and Planning

I am sharing one of my Instagram posts below from before my surgery as I think I covered most of the main "answers" to the "why are you doing this" question. I also have A LOT more photos documenting the whole process on my Instagram story called "MomMakeover", so I definitely encourage you to hop on over there and check it out. In the meantime, I will elaborate on the journey from start to finish here on the blog as well. Feel free to comment, ask questions or email me privately. Go to my Contact page for all the ways to reach me.

This body has carried 4 babies. This body has been a competitive gymnast, diver, swimmer, and a professional carrier of things (kids, groceries, shopping bags, laundry baskets...). It has been thin. It has been big. Healthy and strong. Ill and weak. This body is mine and I am proud of it.

With that said, this body is one I would like to improve. After 4 babies, not only did my thyroid crap out (hello Hashimotos and hypothyroidism!) but my skin and muscles suffered damage as well. I was blessed with deep stretch marks that pulled so tight they remain thin purple streaks across my entire stomach. My abdominal muscles were quite literally ripped apart with each pregnancy (diastasis recti). My belly button diminished into itself leaving behind a hole where I had 2 hernias that needed repaired. Child bearing is no joke! While I wouldn’t take any of it back for a minute - and I know just how lucky I am to have been able to experience the incredible miracle that is pregnancy and childbirth - it doesn’t change the fact that my confidence has suffered.

I’m at a point in my life where I have the time and energy to prioritize my health. My body. I’ve decided to revisit cosmetic surgery. A “mommy makeover” if you will. And before you start thinking that this choice is selfish, unnecessary or just plain stupid, I ask that you keep that to yourself. Believe me, I’ve already had and considered the very same negative thoughts.

I haven’t come to this decision lightly. In fact I had this exact surgery scheduled 4 years ago but chickened out and cancelled. I tried hard to make peace with my body as is. I did. But this is where I am. I’m okay with it. My husband is okay with it. And honestly, that is all that matters.

After a few consults with 2 of the best plastic surgeons in our area, I am excited to have come to a decision. I will be booking surgery next week to take place in the fall. I will be sharing each part of this journey. Whether you are considering a mommy makeover, have had it done, or just simply want to see the transformation, I hope you will follow along!

Deciding to share this journey publicly was also one I did not come to lightly. Before I posted anything on social media about it, I thought long and hard about who I wanted to reach and why. I immediately thought of the numerous Google searches I did in preparation to make the decision to have this surgery. I probably watched hundreds of YouTube videos of others who had had it done. I was soaking up the information from every place I could - both online and by talking with those who were not ashamed to say they too had a "mommy makeover". 

All of those were so valuable in helping me make my decision and knowing where to go once I started to move forward with it. I knew that by sharing, I would eventually be able to help someone else who like me, struggled with whether or not this was the right choice for them. 

With that said, my older two boys are on Instagram (read about our Family Technology Guidelines here). Some of their 10 and 11 year old friends follow me on that platform so I am always very aware of what I share. 

I remember snapping the photos below in the mirror with the intention of sharing them as my "before" pictures on Instagram. Of course it was something I was nervous about - simply because who likes to showcase their imperfections online in that way. But I then started thinking less about myself and more about the people who would see it. My husband works at a large local professional business. My kids would see it and may die of embarrassment. What would they think? I thought it was important to get their input. 

I texted the photo to my husband at work. "Would you be embarrassed if I shared these photos on Instagram?" His immediate response, to my surprise, "not at all. you are beautiful babe and have nothing to be ashamed of". Okay, so I moved on to my oldest son. I went into his bedroom and showed him the pictures. "If I shared these on Instagram, would you be okay with it?" Again, a surprising response, "No. I mean it's your page. Do what you want." I felt like I had to at least tell him why I was asking, reminding him that some of his friends follow me and would see it. "Who cares," he shrugged. I was both shocked and proud. Next, I talked it over with Aiden. He just giggled and said "why do you want to post that?" I explained that I wanted to share my mommy makeover journey and part of that would be showing what my stomach looked like before vs. after. He giggled again and had just one small request. "Can you not show your top part, like, in your sports bra?" 

So I cropped my chest out of it and said "is this okay?" He said yes and that was that. I honestly thought one of them would urge me not getting all of their blessings made it a little bit easier to push post. I mean why should I be embarrassed? It's my body and for all the reasons I listed above I should embrace it as part of this process. 

At that point I had already come to my decision to have the surgery. In fact, I had already consulted with 2 local surgeons as part of my research. Here is how that all went:

-- Scheduled initial consult appointments - had to wait a couple weeks to get in as both are busy plastic surgery practices.

-- Day of appointment - I was SOO nervous. It's pretty vulnerable to be wearing nothing under a gown knowing that when the doctor comes in, you will have to open it up and bare all. They have to feel, push on, move things around and get a look from multiple angles. Talk about uncomfortable. But then you have to remember that they do this multiple times a day every day of the week so it's not like it's nothing they've never seen before. I had done some research and had a few questions for each doctor (see "DO YOUR RESEARCH" below for my suggestions).

-- After consults - I met with 2 surgeons and while they were very different in terms of bedside manner and personality, both were great. I knew from their reputations that both were also very good at what they do. I laid out the pros and cons for each doctor and weighed that list in my decision making process. 

-- Scheduling surgery - Once I came to my decision on which doctor I would go with, I contacted the office and let them know. I was able to schedule my surgery for about 6 weeks later. Writing the date down on my calendar (and putting it in my phone) was surreal. I mentioned above that I had already scheduled this very procedure once before 4 years earlier, but then cancelled it when my nerves got the best of me. This time I felt much different. I was in a better place for sure. My kids were all a bit older and I was pretty much past the carrying a baby around on my hip stage.

-- As surgery day approached - I was excited for sure. It was hard for me to picture my body any different than it had been for almost 11 years, but I was no longer second guessing my decision like the first time around. With that said, I was EXTREMELY nervous and often had to put it out of my head as thinking about it would almost make me want to throw up. People would ask about it and I'd literally say "I can't talk about it" and move on to another subject. Even so, I knew the fear was natural.

-- Surgery day - The big day was finally here! I had childcare lined up and coordinated all the logistics of managing a busy household of 4 kids. I bought a HUGE weekly calendar and basically wrote down their schedules hour by hour - what time to wake them up for school, what they eat for breakfast, what time the bus comes for pick up and drop off, what activity they had after-school and thus what time each needed to eat dinner - the whole 9 yards. Not because I doubted whomever would be doing it in my absence, but rather because it made me feel like I was doing my part as a mom. After all, I was told that I would be down with little to no activity for at least 2 weeks. Ricky was taking the first few days off work to be home with me and manage the kids, then he was leaving for a scheduled work trip the following week so my cousin was flying down from Chicago to juggle it all. The morning of surgery my mom was there so Ricky could be with me at the hospital. I kissed my babies and sent them out the door for school, then headed on my way!

I will share more from surgery day and beyond in my next couple posts! Until are some of my tips and recommendations for up to this point in the process:

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH - There are many ways to do this. Scour the internet (but carefully consider sources). Read all you can on the subject to learn best practices. There are scholarly journals (that may be too much medical jargon), YouTube videos, hashtags on Instagram that can point you in the right direction. Talk to others who you know have had the same procedure. You'll also want to read reviews from others who have experience with the particular doctors you are considering. 

2. MAKE A LIST OF QUESTIONS - Start compiling a list of questions you have so that when you meet with the various surgeons (and I recommend meeting with AT LEAST 2, but probably 3 or 4 would be best) you will not forget any of the important ones. I wanted a tummy tuck and a breast lift without implants. Here were some of mine:
  • How many years have you been doing this? 
  • What are your complication rates?
  • Can you explain exactly what is done during the procedure? 
  • Do you use drains? 
  • Do you operate in a surgery center or at a hospital?
  • What can I expect for recovery?
  • How long before I can work out?
  • Will my bra size change with just a lift?
  • When can I drive?
  • How much does it cost? 
  • Do you offer financing?
  • Do you offer any discounts for paying upfront?

3. PLAN YOUR SCHEDULE WELL IN ADVANCE - Managing a household or working outside the home take a TON of effort. When one parent is down (or the only parent in a single-parent household), straying from the schedule and relying on others can be daunting. Making sure you have the appropriate amount of time off work and enough help to handle the logistics of your family will prove to be SUPER important. Having a written calendar to lay out schedules is helpful. Communication is key. When deciding on your surgery date, look at your kiddos school calendar to determine any big projects that might be due or special activities that you may not want to miss.

4. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DIET AND EXERCISE ROUTINE PRIOR TO SURGERY - Most surgeons will recommend that you be at your "ideal weight" by surgery day. For many, that is just tough to do. The main reason behind this however is so that you don't come in overweight, expect to have surgery for weight-loss reasons, then be unhappy with your results if you a) don't come out looking thin and trim or b) lose a bunch of weight after surgery which would affect your results. It is a good idea to start and/or continue making healthy diet choices so you at the very least don't gain weight prior to surgery. Having healthy habits will make your recovery easier as well as give you results you are happier with.

5. PURCHASE RECOVERY ITEMS AND SET UP A RECOVERY SPOT - (See my Instagram story "MomMakeover" for photos that show my recovery spot and supplies.) I purchased a soft fabric recliner on a local buy/sell page for $100 months before my surgery. I knew from my research that I would likely not be able to sleep in bed for several weeks post-op. I also bought a small table that was easily accessible next to the recliner that included a USB plug-in attached to the top so I would have to fish for cords that fell next to me. You will want to pre-fill your prescriptions and have those close to your recovery spot too (you'll get the rX's at your final pre-op appointment). Below are links to products similar to those I bought ahead of time. (Please note, these are affiliate links through Amazon. Any purchases made through these links allows me to earn a very small commission.)

6. FIGURE OUT YOUR PAYMENT OPTIONS - This procedure is not cheap. It is an investment you are making in yourself however, and I feel it is worth every penny. Discuss the cost upfront with your chosen surgeon. They should have an assistant who can walk you through your payment options. Most do not accept insurance (as these are typically elective procedures), but there are a few financing companies that plastic surgeons offices usually recommend. We financed my surgery through CareCredit which offers specific terms of repayment for a pre-determined period of time (usually 24-48 months).

7. DON'T HESITATE TO CONTACT YOUR SURGEONS OFFICE ANYTIME - If you've chosen a good surgeon with a good team, it will not be a problem at all to reach out with questions anytime prior to (or after) your surgery. I thought I had everything covered during the consults, but then thought of a hundred more questions afterwards. I was able to email with a nurse as often as I needed to discuss things as they came to mind. Good communication is very important, so make sure you pay close attention to this during the initial selection process.

*If you are in the Louisville, KY area (or beyond!) and are interested, the surgeon I chose was Dr. Nana Mizuguchi. You can read more about his practice, Mizuguchi Plastic Surgery, via his website: I highly recommend him and his entire team!